Vehemence - Helping the World to See
Metal Blade
Technical Death Metal
11 songs (50'31")
Release year: 2004
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Alex

It is a tough job to be an American death metal act. How is the young band to navigate the waters not to become the victim of numerous riptides? How not to pursue the trend of Morbid Angel-Cannibal Corpse-Death wannabes, Swedish copycats or, the worst, metalcore fad followers? In this sense Arizona’s Vehemence tries real hard to be imaginative, if not unique. Their major label debut God Was Created is a pretty special album. Not holding back, the band took everything to the extreme. Brutal parts are uber-vicious, melodic parts go as far as incorporating Jason Keesecker’s keyboards and concept album lyrics leave me, as a father of a 5-yr old girl, shaking.

Right off the bat I have to say Helping the World to See is not God Was Created, Part II, despite the fact I may have wanted that to happen. With Vehemence reviews absent on this site I even struggled with the thought of doing God Was Created, but settled for Helping the World to See as it is a newer record, more representative, probably, of where Vehemence is headed. Gone is Jason Keesecker, gone is the concept album, technical brutal death metal remains. However, the album is a much more straightforward event, with shorter, more direct songs, packaged for the broader audience.

Don’t get me wrong, Vehemence did not mellow out. By Your Bedside and Kill for God are full of dark ominous riffs and To the Taste and We Are All Dying are fast and furious without ripping off At The Gates but rather creating their own rhythmic patterns. Fast, but not awash in speed just for the sake of speed, Vehemence finds room to fuse crushing riffs with melody (What Could Go Wrong?) Their music is still quite technical reminding me Theory in Practice and Bjorn Dannov’s/John Chavez’s solos are reminiscent of Chuck Schuldiner (You Don’t Have to Be Afraid Anymore). Andy Schroeder’s drumming is one big highlight reel seeing how he can mix twisty rolls with the superfast blast beat (To the Taste). It just feels that in the effort to be widely accepted and appeal to a faceless moshing stomping pit Vehemence blended in a few hardcore elements, mostly showing up through the screamo part of Nathan Gearhart’s (or is it the backing voice of bass player Mark Kozuback?) vocals and songs like Darkness is Comfort and some portions of Spirit of the Soldier. The epic feel of God Was Created is somewhat lost, and probably purposefully. Only You Don’t Have to Be Afraid Anymore and quasi-instrumental Alone in Your Presence have intros, slow building parts, mixture of tempos. Darkness is Comfort, in comparison, feels way too simplistic. I loved the fact how Vehemence had the dark feel of Immolation, especially considering that very low guttural voice of Gearhart’s can be confused with Ross Dolan. The dark feeling still there, in spots, straight ahead albeit technical pounding was more the name of the game on Helping the World to See.

Although not as disturbing as on God Was Created Nathan’s lyrics touch a chord with me. Kill for God (religious zealots, suicide bombers), Trinity Broadcasting (televangelists), Spirit of the Soldier (tribute to the fallen troops), We Are All Dying (our world taken away by corrupt politicians) – it is all better than the standard platter of Satan and gore. Vehemence are full of social consciousness and are not afraid to show it.

The last thing I want to do is be overly picky. Vehemence is one of the rising young hopes of American death metal. Not copying Cannibal Corpse or Morbid Angel, combining New York style brutality and Swedish sense of melody, excellent technical skills – how could you not call them the rising star? If you are looking for American, smart, original and genuine – difficult amalgamation to find and subsequently top – look no further than Vehemence.

Killing Songs :
By Your Bedside, Kill for God, To the Taste, You Don't Have to Be Afrsid Anymore, We Are All Dying
Alex quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Vehemence that we have reviewed:
Vehemence - Forward Without Motion reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
Vehemence - God Was Created reviewed by Kayla and quoted 89 / 100
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